S (Scripture): Deuteronomy 30:9b “For the Lord your God will once more rejoice over you to make you prosperous just as he rejoiced over your ancestors, 10 if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commandments and statutes that are written in this scroll of the law. But you must turn to him with your whole mind and being.
11 “This commandment I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it too remote. 12 It is not in heaven, as though one must say, “Who will go up to heaven to get it for us and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 And it is not across the sea, as though one must say, “Who will cross over to the other side of the sea and get it for us and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 For the thing is very near you – it is in your mouth and in your mind so that you can do it.
15 “Look! I have set before you today life and prosperity on the one hand, and death and disaster on the other. 16 What I am commanding you today is to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to obey his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances. Then you will live and become numerous and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are about to possess.
O (Observation): Obedience to Christ seems very much like a chance to earn salvation. The Gospel seems to be presented this way throughout the Old Testament, like “Love God…or else!”
The truth is that Law and Gospel are present throughout the Old and New Testaments. The Law is that which reveals our brokenness and the Gosepl is what heals us. The Law, thus, drives us to the Gospel.
In this example, God’s people – Israel – are told to love the Lord their God. Seems like a tall order (Law), but the Good News is that this command is not a difficult one to obey. Obeying this command is not like having to climb up to the highest heavens or cross a great sea. No, indeed, obeying is as close and simple as being in your mind/heart and in your mouth. How much closer can it get?!?! The closeness is the Gospel. Obedience isn’t about a great show of effort. Obedience is right there within everyone’s grasp. Believe and talk about your belief.
The Law points to our death. The Gospel points to life, and life abundant in God.
A (Application): Many folks have twisted the concept of what it means to be a Christian. We think that climbing to the highest heaven and crossing a great sea is our goal as Christians, that somehow accomplishing that feat makes us greater Christians (or people) than anyone else.
Being a Christian is not about conquering the devil or our enemies – indeed, God has done that in Christ on the cross. Being a Christian is not about living with a “Do / Don’t do this…or else” attitude.
Being a Christian is realizing that we are all broken and that we each have the Gospel within reach (indeed, in our hearts/minds and on our lips). Being a Christian is realizing that in our brokenness, Christ enters in to make us whole again.
The offense of the Gospel is that our might and our power is not what makes us whole (as a people or a nation). Rather, the Gospel fills us much, much deeper than any show of might or any set of accomplishments.
One who loves Christ does not point out other humans as the enemy. Rather, evil itself is the enemy… Funny thing…the power of evil has also been defeated and will not win in the end.
Point out all you want the evils in this world…I still believe that the Gospel wins…even in spite of our failed attempts to show love to our neighbors.
The Gospel wins. Not a presidential candidate. Not a pastor. Not you. Not me. The Gospel wins. Period.
P (Prayer): Lord, we thank you for showing us the way, the truth, and the life – Jesus Christ. Let us look to Christ as your obedience lived out. Let us look to Christ to be healed and to be made whole. Amen.